Q241 : Are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Fallen Angels?

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Q241 : Are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Fallen Angels?


Is there a symbolic relationship between the 'Faces' of the 'Four Faced Beasts' as well as the directional Four Faced Beasts of Ezekiel 1:10 (North, South, East, West), and the apocalyptic 'Four Seals' they reveal?

  • Lion Faced - White Horse Rider - Conqueror - East
  • Ox Faced - Red Horse - War/Civil Strife - West
  • Man Faced - Black Horse - Famine - South
  • Eagle Faced - Pale Green Horse - Death - North
Are these 'Fallen Angels' sent on specific missions to specific regions (north, south, east, west) of the world similar to those seen by Zechariah?

A241 : by Tony Garland

As I mention in my Revelation Commentarya when discussing the significance of the Four Gospelsb, I believe a case can be made for correlating the four faces with the four directions of the compass based on inferences concerning the divinely established arrangement of the Camp of Israel around the Tabernacle (Num. 2). Thus, I would correlate the faces and directions much as you suggest above.

In addition, there is clear Biblical precedent for understanding the number four as often designating Global Extent, the Entire World, the Earthc.

However, I would make one point of clarification: unlike the four-faced beasts of Ezekiel 1:10, the four “living creatures” (ζῷα [zōa]) of Revelation 4:7 do not have four faces. Instead, each of the four has a different face—matching one of the four faces on each of the beasts Ezekiel saw.

If one prefers the reading of the NUd text, which reads “come,” over that of the Majority Texte (and Textus Receptusf), which read “come and see” (Rev. 6:1,3,5,7) then it may be that each horseman is called forth by one of the four living creatures of Revelation 4-6, resulting in the associations you suggest. Such a conclusion seems defensible based on details from the Biblical text.

That being said, I don't see any Scriptural justification for taking the four horsemen riding forth in Revelation 6 as fallen angels or as sent to specific regions. Instead, the horsemen appear to be personifications of the judgments proceeding forth from their respective rides. Moreover, it appears that each of the horsemen have a global sphere of influence. For example, many understand the first rider (white horse) to represent the Antichrist, whom Scripture reveals as having a global empire (Dan. 7:23; Rev. 13:7). The second rider takes “peace from the [entire] earth”. When the text states that the fourth rider was given power “over a fourth of the earth” this does not seem to limit his influence over a geographic region, but indicate his destructive power is such that 1/4 of the population of the entire earth perishes. Here, it seems best to understand the four of the four horsemen in line with the use of four elsewhere in Scripture: as denoting global influence—the four major directions of the compass (“corners of the earth” as in Isa. 11:12; Eze. 7:2; Rev. 7:1; 20:8).

As I mention in my discussion of Zechariah's Horsesg, the directions the horse-drawn chariots seen by Zechariah ride forth do not appear to correlate with the four directions of the compass.

  • The chariot drawn by black horses rides north (Zec. 6:6).
  • The chariot drawn by white horses also rides north (Zec. 6:6).
  • The chariot drawn by the dappled horses rides south (Zec. 6:6).
  • The destination of the chariot drawn by red horses is not explicitly given, but appears to be global (Zec. 6:7).
In conclusion: 1) there is Scriptural evidence (if we follow the NU text in Revelation 6) for the associations you suggest; 2) I do not believe Scripture to indicate or imply that the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are fallen angels; 3) the effects and ride of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse appear to be global; 4) although there are similarities between the four horses seen by John in Revelation 6 and the horses of Zechariah's visions, there are also significant differences.

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